Career technical education programs like CyberPatriot prepare Learn4Life students for careers in technology and science

LANCASTER, Calif. ­– (Oct. 27, 2016) ­– Students at Learn4Life, a dropout recovery program for at-risk high school students, begin the first round of competition in the Air Force Association’s ninth annual CyberPatriot education program. Through the partnership with CyberPatriot, Learn4Life students receive hands-on experience working as IT professionals during a months-long competition.

Ten Learn4Life students have formed two teams: LanMat+ and the all-girls team Heatstrokes. Over the next eight months they will go through rounds of competition that challenge them with tasks to uncover cybersecurity vulnerabilities within operating systems while maintaining critical services. All teams will compete within their regions and states to vie for top placement in the competition. The top teams in the country will earn an all-expenses-paid trip to the national finals competition in Baltimore, where students can earn national recognition and scholarship money.

Tweet this: #Student teams from @Learn4Life compete in the @CyberPatriot competition as underdogs vying to take home the win #cyberpatriot

CyberPatriot is one example of career technical education programs that Learn4Life offers its students. Through Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act and corporate partnerships, Learn4Life provides work-readiness skills, work-based learning opportunities, internships and job opportunities. One example is its partnership with the Cisco Lab IT program where Learn4Life students gain important technical computer skills in hardware and software. At the completion of the two-semester program, students have the opportunity to earn their A+ certification which allows them to get a job in IT right out of high school.

One student named Daniel Clark had a difficult time going to a traditional high school due to problems at home and decided to attend Learn4life because of its safe environment and the one-on-one learning model. Daniel completed the Cisco Lab IT program and, after graduating in June, is pursuing a job in information technology.

“Preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow means we have to offer a 21st century education where they can learn real-life, technical skills that employers need more than ever,” said Valerie Chase, vice president of School Development & Support with Learn4Life. “It’s been great to see the enthusiasm from students as they practice to become our next generation of cyber defense experts.”

By the end of 2016, every student in the Learn4Life network will complete a 10-week course that allows students to receive five credits of Professional Skills and five credits of Foundations in Computing to learn the soft and hard skills that employers are seeking. Skills taught include interpersonal communication; PowerPoint and other computer programs; writing a job application, resume and cover letter; developing a budget spreadsheet; and participating in a mock interview.

Learn4Life partners with universities, vocational schools, trade organizations and industry leaders to expand its career-based course offerings, allowing students to earn credits while working to find their career path. This type of experiential job training not only helps improve the students’ chances for employment, but it also strengthens California’s workforce and economy.